July 9
When we were children, we used to
think that when we were grown-up
we would no longer be vulnerable.  But
to grow up is
to accept vulnerability.
To be alive is to be vulnerable.

Madeleine L'Engle


Today's Meditation:

This is something that few of us want to acknowledge.  We are vulnerable, and we can be hurt.  We can be damaged, and we can lose whatever we have at a moment's notice--just ask anyone who's gone through a tornado or hurricane or earthquake.  Just ask anyone who has been left by a spouse, betrayed by a trusted friend, abandoned by parents.  We are vulnerable, and it's our acknowledgement of that vulnerability that allows us to put an edge on our lives, to see the importance of deciding which chances are truly worth taking in life.

When I was a kid, I thought that all adults had it all together.  Now I'm astonished to realize just how messed up my parents were emotionally, just how much pain they were going through and causing each other.  As an adult myself, now, I make sure that I don't allow myself to be subject to the causes of the pain that they went through.  I recognize that I'm very vulnerable myself, and there are certain types of pain that I don't want to expose myself to, for they're much more likely to be extremely damaging than other types of pain.

I completely accept my vulnerability--if I didn't, I would have no way of protecting myself.  If I considered myself invulnerable or impervious to pain and injury, then I would make no effort to avoid it.  Of course, I can't spend my life avoiding all pain, but there is a way to balance taking my risks with taking care of myself.

I like my vulnerability.  It's like a friend who keeps reminding me to be careful, even as I take risks and do things that others may not be willing to do.  And without our vulnerability, we wouldn't be able to feel the world, the emotions, the ecstasy and the agony and the joy and the pain--and these are the things that bring life to our existence.  These are the things that let us know that we are truly and fully alive.

Questions to consider:

In what ways are you most vulnerable?  How do you know this?

How can you use your vulnerability to add quality and intensity to your life?

Why is it important to accept our vulnerability completely?

For further thought:

It costs so much to be a full human being that there are very few
who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price. . . .
One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out
to the risk of living with both arms.  One has to embrace the world like
a lover.  One has to accept pain as a condition of existence.  One has
to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing.  One needs a will
stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of
every consequence of living and dying.

Morris L. West


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